Foreign Grocery Friday: The Chicha Morada of Peru
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
A few weeks ago in Cusco, we talked a bit about discovering the city's ridiculously nice Starbucks. A few of our Twitter followers (you awesome people) quickly admonished us for hitting up an international chain rather than try a local drink, from a local place. Alas, that's always our plan! Starbucks was a momentary diversion for their free WiFi, but rest assured we guzzled our share of Chicha the rest of the time.
From Wikipedia we learn that chicha was used by the ancient Incas for rituals, including in Machu Picchu. In modern-day Peru, this fermented corn drink that usually occupies the same grocery shelf as Coca-Cola. Chicha Morada seems to be most ubiquitous; it's a purple corn version of chicha with a pineapple-limey zestiness and a clovey-cinnamony spice.
The taste: Sweet and refreshing, but with a tinge of autumnal spice. Skip soft drinks and go for the chicha, served cold. A homemade one we tasted came closer to prune-licorice juice, but was nonetheless still quite tasty.
The price: Much cheaper than Coke or Pepsi. Pay in coins and bet it'll be about 2 soles ($0.75) at the most.
Where to find them: In Cusco, we bought bottles at both Minimarket Gato near the new JW Marriott and Supermercado Mega. In addition, the Palacio Nazarenas Hotel in town serves a homemade chicha and coca mix as their complimentary welcome drink.
If you'd like to share some of your foreign grocery finds, we'd love love love to see them. Send 'em on over via email here and snack on, my friends.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]